Disney World is expensive. There is always a moment, just before I purchase our tickets, that I ask myself if this is a smart financial decision. The magic of Disney World always wins!! However, learning how to efficiently use Disney World FastPass+ will make or break your trip.
My biggest fears when going to Disney World are:
1 – Will we stand in line all day long watching our money slowly die in a queue line?
2 – Will it rain?
Seeing as how I have no control over the weather, the only thing I can control is how to efficiently use Disney World FastPass+. This skill alone can transform any Disney World visit.
Disney World FastPass+ is Free and Easy!
Going to Disney World for the first time can be overwhelming with all the things you need to learn in order to get your full money’s worth for the trip. Disney’s FastPass+ is Disney World’s way to try and make life easier and your day more enjoyable. It is also completely free.
If you are using FastPass+, I highly recommend using it with the Disney World My Disney Experience App. This is how you most efficiently use Disney World FastPass+. We always have our cell phones on us. This is the easiest way to make your reservations, even when in the park. (Don’t worry, the park has free wi-fi.) Disney World also has kiosks available for FastPass+ reservations, but it seems silly to wait in line for one to avoid waiting in line for a ride. Just my two cents.
When we go to Disney World, we always end up sharing with families who are frustrated with us as we pass them in the FastPass+ lane how to more efficiently use the system that is available to everyone. It is fun to watch them take a breath of fresh air knowing long lines are no longer their destiny for the rest of the day.
Rules to FastPass+
There are rules and tricks to more efficiently use Disney World FastPass+. First the basics:
1 – You can reserve FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days before your trip if staying in a Disney World hotel and up to 30 days before your trip if staying in an off-site hotel.
2 – You can reserve no more than three FastPass+ reservations per day.
3 – You can keep reserving FastPass+ reservations, one at a time, after your last one is scanned at the ride or after the time window has passed.
This last step is what many folks at the parks miss in their research. They think once their last FastPass+ reservation is used, it is long lines and waits for the rest of the day. This is not the case! Don’t be one of these poor souls standing in a long line with bored and cranky kids. Disney World is supposed to be fun!
Here is how we successfully and efficiently use Disney World FastPass+ reservation system to avoid long lines, even on the busiest days at Disney World.
Best FastPass+ reservation times
We like to arrive at the park for the opening show. So many families come in a few hours after opening. Regardless of their reasons, we like to get there one hour before the park opens so we do not miss a moment. The opening show is a lot of fun, and you get to beat the crowds into the park.
As soon as the opening show is over, head to the ride you absolutely do not want to miss and were not able to score a FastPass+ reservation. For us, this is often the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. They both will have incredibly long lines all day, and if you do not ride the popular rides first, you will be waiting in an extremely long line later in the day.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
If you were not able to score a FastPass+ reservation for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, or any other popular attraction, like the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you are not completely out of luck! Capitalize on the low morning crowds.
For the Seven Dwarf Mind Train, make sure to stand near the rope to the right of Cinderella’s Castle during the opening show. Once the rope drops, be familiar with where the ride line starts and head there as quickly (and politely) as possible. It can be quite the hustle. If you hurry, your wait will be minimal. Anything under thirty minutes is a win in my book. Plus, their queue line is full of interactive activities for the little ones.
To prepare your walk to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, head left of Cinderella’s castle after the opening show. Both walkways are pretty obvious when you see other people already standing there and waiting!
If the line is short…
When you arrive at the park early, you can ride many attractions before the crowds get there. If you have an early morning FastPass+ reservation and the ride line is short at your window time (15 minutes or less), go ahead and wait in the short line. While waiting, modify that ride’s FastPass+ reservation to another wanted attraction during your morning or early afternoon. You just scored another opportunity before you even started!
After you use your last FastPass+ reservation
On the day at the park, once you use your last FastPass+ reservation, start making your next FastPass+ reservation (you can even do this while standing in line at that last FastPass+ attraction). You can keep making the reservations one at a time for the remainder of the day and skip the long lines! This is the best-known tip to efficiently use Disney World FastPass+ to your advantage.
Strategies to efficiently use Disney World FastPass+
There are different methods out there on how to best utilize the FastPass+ system. Personally, my favorite method is to book my first three FastPass+ reservations in the 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM range. Most rides have super short lines in the very early morning, and then the park starts to fill up. Use up your three FastPass+ reservations by lunchtime and grab a bite to eat. Then start grabbing those hard to get FastPass+ reservations for the afternoon.
I like to try and build on them hour by hour, within in reason and walking distance. By doing this, is there a chance we miss a ride? Yes. This is always a possibility. However, I would rather experience six attractions with my kiddos than stand in one line for a popular ride for 90 minutes with cranky, tired kids. More often than not, we get the one super popular ride, and it is a nice surprise when it happens.
You can also look at parade times. There are parades all throughout the day. If you catch one, you don’t have to feel bad about missing another. One parade comes through at 3:30 PM in the Magic Kingdom and there are often tired kids heading back to their hotels for naps or people are watching the parade, so the lines die down.
Have fun, don’t stand in line!
Now that you know how to efficiently use Disney World FastPass+, go have fun and avoid the long lines. Don’t be the victim to queue lines. Be flexible, and enjoy your trip! Even if you are going to Disney World at the last minute, you will have a great time.
What are your best tips to efficiently use Disney World FastPass+? Let us know![mailerlite_form form_id=11]